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Woebot
17-02-2016, 10:08 AM
i expect i'm going to be told in a thousand ways (and with recourse to very scholarly articles and perhaps, if i'm lucky, some virtue signalling thrown in) why my opinions are wrong. but let's hear it anyway...

i'm discussing the uk here.

in my stupidity i dislike politics. politics seems like smoke and mirrors - the ideological arguments that crafty people make to secure themselves 5-year jobs. once in power by and large political parties are steered by civic bureaucracy.

the whole argument here about neoliberalism - that the blair government was a re-run of thatcherism. really what that's about is that there is common-sense, centrist way to run government which strives to do the best by the whole population. so: if we (corbyn) push taxes too high - whether we like it or not - it is a disincentive for global corporations to settle here. [on the other hand] so: if we (cameron) crush the working and middle classes too much we get civil unrest and a miserable toxic society with people sleeping on the streets.

government (as distinct from politics) is like james lovelock's swimming pool - gaian in short. it's about balance. anyone who thinks that the "ruling classes" form an "establishment" is nothing more than a paranoid fantasist. i say this to fools like owen wossisface with some insight into who these people are. the likes of cameron and osbourne are not evil people - they are sincerely trying to do the best they can. just as the blair labour government was trying to do its best.

that's not to say that i would want the people who fight to preserve what they see as greater priorities stopping to do that. let them fight as viciously and valiantly as they may. if cameron and osbourne wake up with a cold sweat in the middle of the night worrying about a nurse in hull - then that's fine by me.

however the bottom line for me is that is that i don't have a particular attachment to politicians per se. like yes minister isn't it? pretty quickly they become dead limbs. and although i have an anxiety about unelected officials running the country, and there is an argument that politicians can hold bureaucrats to account, but i'm not sure if i really give a shit.

to that end, and NOW LOOKING FROM OUTER SPACE AT OUR TINY BLUE DOT i'm not sure if i don't think that the EU isn't actually a great thing? especially as it has seemed to have been a pretty centrist and egalitarian organisation thus far. surely the capitalist forces of globalism have much more to gain with a hundred squabbling nation states? divide and conquer isn't it? they are much less accountable in that circumstance.

in fact not only are global corporations at risk from the EU - so also is that perennial vested interest - the uk political establishment. you could pursue the logic that the people who should be most anxious about losing sovereignty to europe are the british politicians who will all eventually lose their jobs to it. actually i'm surprised, well not that surprised as i think he's basically a sensible person, that cameron is in favour in staying in the eu. it's like voting for your own obsolescence, and anyone prepared to do that needs to be taken seriously.

and frankly fuck all this petty nationalism. i will be voting to stay in the EU. what about you?

luka
17-02-2016, 10:43 AM
. I don't give a shit about politics either. Is that virtue signalling? Droid will give you a kicking. Wonder if anyone else will take the bait.

luka
17-02-2016, 10:51 AM
the whole argument here about neoliberalism - that the blair government was a re-run of thatcherism. really what that's about is that there is common-sense, centrist way to run government which strives to do the best by the whole population.

That's fairly contentious obviously lol!

Woebot
17-02-2016, 11:08 AM
. I don't give a shit about politics either. Is that virtue signalling? Droid will give you a kicking. Wonder if anyone else will take the bait.

no that's not virtue signalling. generally you specialise in "lack of virtue" signalling.

i am interested to hear what everyone thinks. not especially excited in being told how ignorant, selfish and foolish i am.

luka
17-02-2016, 11:11 AM
Good luck.

baboon2004
17-02-2016, 11:14 AM
'contentious' is a nice euphemism for it.

"the likes of cameron and osbourne are not evil people - they are sincerely trying to do the best they can. just as the blair labour government was trying to do its best."

No, they're not evil/immoral, they're amoral in large areas of policy. Or maybe not even amoral - they simply subscribe to a moral code where human suffering can be tolerated if profits are to be made, and where some people's lives are worth less than others. So yeah, they're trying to do their best, if 'best' relates only to one's own moral code, however psychopathic. A little bit frightening though, isn't it?

As to politicians - I don't care about them much either. I used to work with 'political journalists', who were way more concerned with whether individual politicians were 'suitable' for their positions than discussing annoying things like actual policy. Separate 'the political' from 'politics', surely? So, agreed on the EU. Maybe.

sufi
17-02-2016, 11:21 AM
glendower?

sufi
17-02-2016, 11:23 AM
hatherley, griffiths?

luka
17-02-2016, 11:28 AM
'contentious' is a nice euphemism for it.

well its trolling but im hardly going to scold anybody for that. he means owen jones who wrote the book called the estabishment sufi

sufi
17-02-2016, 11:37 AM
yes i know, i felt the need to pick at the detail rather than engage with the main point,

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v38/n04/james-meek/robin-hood-in-a-time-of-austerity
this is a nice explanation of how the right have turned over concepts of virtue in public discourse, which seemingly woebot has swallowed. i agree pretty much with the bot's conclusion though, but would refute pretty much every step of how he reached it.

luka
17-02-2016, 12:50 PM
yeah i feel we're better off in than out. i dont see the EU as running counter to business interests though. in fact i dont think business interests would ever allow us to exit the EU regardless of what Vimothy calls 'the people' might want

baboon2004
17-02-2016, 01:10 PM
well its trolling but im hardly going to scold anybody for that. he means owen jones who wrote the book called the estabishment sufi

i did presume it was trolling,but always best to take things on face value and then see. lots of people would agree with it, after all

@Sufi, that James Meek article was great, creating new terminology to name the sleight of hand we all know is being repeatedly used - the 'conceptual rich' etc. Very simple, but very useful. I'd also recommend the book 'Private Island' to anyone, like me, who was hazy on exactly how UK privatisation of public goods and utilities got pushed through, and how counter its results were to the way it was initially sold (by Thatcher), as a mechanism that would produce a 'nation of private shareholders'.

luka
17-02-2016, 01:13 PM
i dont mean he doesn't believe it. hes not a cunt

Woebot
17-02-2016, 01:18 PM
No, they're not evil/immoral, they're amoral in large areas of policy. Or maybe not even amoral - they simply subscribe to a moral code where human suffering can be tolerated if profits are to be made, and where some people's lives are worth less than others. So yeah, they're trying to do their best, if 'best' relates only to one's own moral code, however psychopathic. A little bit frightening though, isn't it?.

nicely put certainly

Woebot
17-02-2016, 01:20 PM
well its trolling but im hardly going to scold anybody for that. he means owen jones who wrote the book called the estabishment sufi

yes. thanks.

baboon2004
17-02-2016, 01:21 PM
i dont mean he doesn't believe it. hes not a cunt

? No-one said that.

Woebot
17-02-2016, 01:22 PM
i agree pretty much with the bot's conclusion though, but would refute pretty much every step of how he reached it.

lol. i'll take that.

luka
17-02-2016, 01:26 PM
i did presume it was trolling,but always best to take things on face value and then see.

this is what i was responding to baboon

baboon2004
17-02-2016, 01:28 PM
sure - but what is trolling then, if not some sort of deception/exaggeration of an opinion that you don't hold, in order to bait other people?

luka
17-02-2016, 01:34 PM
partly about the forum you choose to share those exxagerated opinions in id suggest

wrt the establishment i think you can hold 1 of 2 positions
1. there is an establishment
2. men that attend eton and/or oxbridge are a natural elite and therefore naturally rise to the top in our perfect meritocracy.

baboon2004
17-02-2016, 01:52 PM
i'd agree with the first part of that, which is precisely why neither you nor I were saying/implying anyone was a cunt. Apart from Blair. It's fine to troll here a bit, if it gets debate going/makes people think - better than endless consensus

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 02:15 PM
...better than endless consensus

No it isn't!

Woebot
17-02-2016, 03:43 PM
partly about the forum you choose to share those exxagerated opinions in id suggest

wrt the establishment i think you can hold 1 of 2 positions
1. there is an establishment
2. men that attend eton and/or oxbridge are a natural elite and therefore naturally rise to the top in our perfect meritocracy.

certainly influence is traded but there is no conspiracy.

the whole subject of the establishment is an irrelevant historical throwback. it is simply paranoia.

luka
17-02-2016, 03:57 PM
Then obviously the onus is on you to explain certain coincidences... Im happy to admit being paranoid

luka
17-02-2016, 03:59 PM
I realise you feel threatened by the amount of hostile rhetoric directed at old etonians but I'm not sure this is the best way to address it

droid
17-02-2016, 04:11 PM
A couple of minor points



the whole argument here about neoliberalism - that the blair government was a re-run of thatcherism. really what that's about is that there is common-sense, centrist way to run government which strives to do the best by the whole population. so: if we (corbyn) push taxes too high - whether we like it or not - it is a disincentive for global corporations to settle here. [on the other hand] so: if we (cameron) crush the working and middle classes too much we get civil unrest and a miserable toxic society with people sleeping on the streets.

Are you including 'global corporations' as part of the 'population'?

Blair was not a centrist. He simply shoved the overton window so far to the right that he appears centrist to the credulous.

Do you dispute figures on inequality, share of wealth etc?

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/12/05/article-2070099-0F0ED17A00000578-669_634x471.jpg

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Screen-Shot-2014-06-27-at-10.36.43.png

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/files/2015/04/Zucman-fig-1.png


anyone who thinks that the "ruling classes" form an "establishment" is nothing more than a paranoid fantasist. i say this to fools like owen wossisface with some insight into who these people are.

lol. Next you'll be saying the UK is a meritocracy.

Elites did not suddenly disappear at the advent of democracy. Those with money have power, and power protects its interests.

This is a trusim. Anyone who believes that there is no ruling class is outrageously naive, especially in the UK where it is so entrenched and pig fuckingly obvious.


The UK is a "deeply" elitist society, with the top jobs overwhelmingly held by people educated at private schools and Oxbridge, according to new research.

A staggering 59% of the Cabinet went to the universities of Oxford or Cambridge, compared to the average of less than 1% of the public as a whole, according to the research from The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, which said it was concerned about stagnant social mobility in the UK.

Of the Cabinet, 59% went to Oxbridge

Around 36% of the Cabinet also went to private schools, compared to only 7% of the public as a whole.

A third of all MPs (33%) and 22% of the Shadow Cabinet went to private schools, the report found.

The findings for politicians mirrored the wider trend for other influential positions in society.

Those who have studied at Oxford or Cambridge make up 75% of senior judges, 50% of diplomats, 44% of public body chairs.

The figures are drastically disproportionate with the national average of less than 1%.

More than one in three (38%) of members of the House of Lords also went to Oxbridge.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/08/27/elitist-britain-cabinet-mps-oxbridge-private-independent-schools_n_5723662.html



the likes of cameron and osbourne are not evil people - they are sincerely trying to do the best they can. just as the blair labour government was trying to do its best.

This is a non-sequitur. You can be 'evil' (whatever that means) and still try to sincerely do your best. Nobody thinks they are the villain. 'No man chooses evil, because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.'


surely the capitalist forces of globalism have much more to gain with a hundred squabbling nation states? divide and conquer isn't it? they are much less accountable in that circumstance.in fact not only are global corporations at risk from the EU

I dont think this is true We have just witnessed entire nations thrown to the wolves by the ECB to placate the financial and banking sectors. Ive been in favour of the EU my entire life, but I would have a hard time convincing anyone of the benefits of membership now after all that has happened.

craner
17-02-2016, 06:09 PM
The argument that a lot of politicians aren't scumbags is certainly one I've championed on this forum before now.

luka
17-02-2016, 06:27 PM
Yeah but we've learned to ignore you oliver

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 07:31 PM
The argument that a lot of politicians aren't scumbags is certainly one I've championed on this forum before now.

I think there's an excellent argument that the current government is the worst we've had since the one that sent the flower of British manhood to die in the Belgian mud a century ago. Look at employment, education, law and order, health, housing, welfare: there is abundant evidence that current policy is making life harder for far more people than it's helping. And that's without even considering foreign and environmental policy, that have effects on people outside this country.

Either they're simply too stupid to see the effects they're having - in which case, how did they get into these jobs? - or they know and simply don't care. Or they care very much and are pleased with what they're doing, because we've had it too easy for too long, a bit of suffering is good for moral fibre after all.

craner
17-02-2016, 07:53 PM
But there are hundreds of politicians who are not involved in the current government. And a lot of them aren't scumbags.

Mr. Tea
17-02-2016, 08:00 PM
OK, yes, many of them are not scumbags. Unfortunately their presence doesn't cancel out that of the scumbags, who include among their number most if not all of the present cabinet.

craner
17-02-2016, 08:07 PM
There are 650 MPs and 750 members of the Lords in Parliament!

Sectionfive
17-02-2016, 09:18 PM
All strata of British society have different and valid reasons to say in, or leave. There are some pretty hefty consequence for Ireland in the event of an exit (Northern partition becomes an EU border, trade-wise the republic is still a regional bloc of the UK economy, etc) but personally and politically I think the rupture would be welcome. Despite all the bluster, electorates everywhere are entirely conservative though so I don't see us facing the abyss any time soon

It's always sort of quaint to watch EU referendums from Ireland where peculiarities of our constitution means our betters are forced to scare the shite of us on the issue every five years since Maastricht. Speaking from that experience, I expect that for all British exceptionalism that surrounds this issue, voters will fall into line and accept their place. If the Scots bottled it, then the English don't have a chance really. The interests of business who benefit from full membership informs the same logic that governs Daily Express fuelled chat on a pub high stool and won't be too difficult to turn around. That bulldog spirit has always been a paper tiger, splendid isolation was an elite position and the elites are firmly to the technocratic hell that 'Europe' stands for now. It suits most of them just fine.

There are some pretty repugnant individuals who in fairness talk a very good game regarding the EU and Britain's membership. Not Farage but the old style Edmond Burke devotees who would have been his, less vulgar, ideological OGs. Years have been spent whipping up the existential crisis but it will all end in retreat, the out camp are chasing a past that never existed while the in camp hoping for one that will never arrive, in the present course of action at least. I just wonder what will replace the EU dividing wedge once that, most effective, bogeyman is off the table.

craner
17-02-2016, 09:25 PM
The split in the Out campaign is particularly fascinating. The Carswell-Hannon group going for the "positive" Atlanticist Free Trade argument vs. the populist Farage wing banging on about immigration and EU migration. Like the old Trots, they are currently more at each others throats than going for their real In enemies.

craner
17-02-2016, 09:29 PM
I agree that the British will "bottle it" (your phrase), and vote In. But like the Scots, it will be close.

craner
17-02-2016, 09:32 PM
It's always a mistake to caricature or reduce or tie-in Edmund Burke, one of the most complex characters in British political history.

luka
18-02-2016, 08:41 AM
It's always a mistake to caricature or reduce or tie-in Edmund Burke, one of the most complex characters in British political history.

Normal people don't speak like this

droid
18-02-2016, 09:52 AM
But there are hundreds of politicians who are not involved in the current government. And a lot of them aren't scumbags.

So what? The problem is systemic. Regardless of individual personalities, the simple fact is that principles are a liability in politics and it is all too easy to support policies that inflict harm on people outside of one's immediate circles, which, for politicians, is most of the population.

Mr. Tea
18-02-2016, 10:41 AM
There are 650 MPs

And yet however many non-scumbaggy ones there are, they've consistently been too few or two weak to resist the barrage of terrible laws being passed by the scumbaggy ones. The spare bedroom tax was passed by a vote of 298 to 266 - a policy which has now cost more, in terms of its implementation and the government's legal fights against challenges, than it's saved.

luka
18-02-2016, 11:31 AM
A lot of voters are scumbags too tbf

Mr. Tea
18-02-2016, 11:48 AM
A lot of voters are scumbags too tbf

True, but I don't think in anything like the same proportion as the House of Commons. Bear in mind the Tories have an absolute majority on a mandate made up of the votes of about 24% of the electorate.

And when people vote for terrible politicians it's usually more because they're gullible and/or misinformed than because they themselves are terrible people. They believed David Cameron when he said he'd protect the NHS and get rid of the deficit, and when he said Labour would bankrupt the country with reckless spending. The role played by the UK's overwhelmingly right-wing national press (and, increasingly, the BBC) can't be overstated here, of course.

luka
18-02-2016, 02:35 PM
Good point. Some people are not scumbags they are thick.
I agree with that.

Woebot
20-02-2016, 02:20 PM
well one thing is for certain - cameron's idea to get some improvements was a disaster.

he shouldn't have bothered. he should have just said - the eu is good - nuff said. he's really made very little headway. :rolleyes:

Mr. Tea
21-02-2016, 12:02 AM
Good point. Some people are not scumbags they are thick.
I agree with that.

Yes of course some people are thick, but even that, I think, is not really the main issue. Lots of highly intelligent people believe all sorts of nonsense. Or, where they have reliable knowledge, willfully fail to make obvious causal connections between facts they know, or invent spurious connections between unrelated facts. The prevalence of logical fallacies in people's thought processes is staggering - think of all those furious mathematics PhDs who wrote in to Marilyn vos Savant, telling her she was wrong about the Monty Hall problem (an elementary probability puzzle which any reasonably intelligent ten-year-old who comes to it without preconceptions should intuitively be able to understand).

This is by no means restricted to conservative-minded people, obviously. So some people are convinced that asylum seekers arriving in this country are automatically given a nice house to live in and lots of money, while other people refuse point blank to acknowledge that there might be a connection between the UK's severe and ever-worsening housing shortage and the more than 600,000 people settling in this country every year, to the point of insisting that anyone who might even consider there to be a connection must be - sigh - "racist" and therefore wrong and a grotesquely ugly freak, END OF.

This links in to the stuff in the other thread (the one about Trump, I think) regarding echo chambers and the tendency of the internet and social media in particular to reinforce people's existing views and prejudices far more than it exposes them to new points of view.

vimothy
21-02-2016, 08:03 PM
he shouldn't have bothered

It's theatre, isn't it? Cameron intended to impress a domestic audience, and may well have succeeded.

john eden
21-02-2016, 08:20 PM
It's theatre, isn't it? Cameron intended to impress a domestic audience, and may well have succeeded.

And the right of his party, which has failed.

He couldn't do anything else though.

john eden
21-02-2016, 08:33 PM
Mildly for out here.

Because Democracy. And how its birthplace has been treated.

Mr. Tea
21-02-2016, 08:51 PM
I'm thinking more and more that it's a case of Hobson's Choice: get shat on by Brussels, or get shat on by Westminster?

Woebot
22-02-2016, 12:03 PM
Mildly for out here.

Because Democracy. And how its birthplace has been treated.

it's a difficult decision innit. right across the political spectrum (tho it seems mainly the right want out)

still turning it over. though many of the leave arguments seem like fantasies of sovereignty. as though we would suddenly be free.

on the other hand one key criteria seems to be security - and certainly the "safe" choice is usually the wrong one. much better to embrace insecurity in the modern world (cf all that is solid melts into air)

droid
22-02-2016, 12:20 PM
It would mean the end of the UK, followed by an isolated England functioning primarily as a low tax European outpost for Financial services & Banking & as an Anglospheric military nuclear headquarters... Like Switzerland (except without the nice weather & high standard of living) crossed with Israel.

I like it. It has an honesty about. England could embrace both its future & past and relive the glory of the East India Company days without shame or censure.

Mr. Tea
22-02-2016, 12:38 PM
England could embrace both its future & past and relive the glory of the East India Company days without shame or censure.

Saw this the other day. Thought droid would appreciate it.

http://www.dissensus.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=95&d=1456144725

95

droid
23-02-2016, 11:59 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBi-KXc0CRk

droid
23-02-2016, 12:15 PM
...anyone who thinks that the "ruling classes" form an "establishment" is nothing more than a paranoid fantasist...

“Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the State”

Just reading up on Gladio & the European stay at homes again, Licio Geili, Aldo Moro, Mino Pecorelli, Gen. Serravalle etc. and was wondering (apart from the self evident & obvious manifestations of establishment control in the UK - and most other places) - is there credible evidence of a British Deep State (again, apart from the obvious domestic security/military/financial/political nexus)?

droid
23-02-2016, 12:18 PM
Sweden, Switzerland, Israel - usually put forward as examples to rival Turkey, but it seems to me that once a nation gets to a sufficient size then the Deep State should be assumed unless proven otherwise.

luka
23-02-2016, 12:21 PM
That's certainly my assumption but then again I'm 'paranoid'

droid
23-02-2016, 12:33 PM
Well, the counter argument is that many of the elements of the deep state in the UK are already out in the open.

Woebot
23-02-2016, 01:17 PM
once a nation gets to a sufficient size then the Deep State should be assumed unless proven otherwise.

again on the UK

these people can't even control their colleagues. what makes you think they have the wherewithal to control you or i?

im not saying there arent currents of control - or efforts to exercise control but its usually the "deep state's" own fantasy of its own efficacy. they'd like to feel that way certainly.

from my own experience no one has much control of anything. some people's sense of powerlessness is certainly exacerbated by their personal circumstances. i, for instance, as a freelancer feel almost totally powerless. im quite at ease with that though.

im not trying to insult anyone or their intelligence by saying such and such is paranoid behaviour - in fact it does seem a bit rude so sorry - i just hate seeing people torture themselves about things which i dont believe are real.

even the biggest ceos are just riding the wave - and what did terry wogan say (lol) - his success has been down to luck "that's the biggest element"

sadmanbarty
23-02-2016, 01:37 PM
Can someone explain what the UK deep state comprises of and how it operates?

luka
23-02-2016, 01:41 PM
Dont be soft headed barty. If you want to know what the term means you can goggle it but the whole point is it's like, secret man

luka
23-02-2016, 01:42 PM
I'm not tortured about it if that reassures you. Its just the way I interpret the data. Everyone does it their own way

luka
23-02-2016, 01:47 PM
You build a model you think best explains what you see. It will definitely be wrong in most respects but what else you gunna do?

sadmanbarty
23-02-2016, 01:57 PM
Dont be soft headed barty. If you want to know what the term means you can goggle it but the whole point is it's like, secret man

I've seen the term used before in the context of Turkey and Egypt, but I don't see how it can be applied to the UK. I was hoping someone could enlighten me.

droid
23-02-2016, 02:13 PM
Sorry to state the obvious:

You have your obvious factions of control in any society, 'the establishment' the traditional, self evident confluence of business, media, law & politics which exerts influence, but does so in a relatively obvious fashion.

Then you have a second, less apparent tier of control involving elements of intelligence, security, economic, media, & political (sometime transnational) forces which strive to influence policy and structures.

The Deep State is a third tier. A clandestine rump which seeks to covertly influence policy and society. Rather than repeat wikipedia:


The notion of deep state is similar to that of a "state within the state". For those who believe in its existence, the political agenda of the deep state involves an allegiance to nationalism, corporatism, and state interests. Violence and other means of pressure have historically been employed in a largely covert manner to manipulate political and economic elites and ensure specific interests are met within the seemingly democratic framework of the political landscape.

Clearly the deep state exists. Turkey's has been well publicised - I mentioned Italy above, and Gelli/P2/Gladio are arguably another example, and infact Gladio cultivated and exploited these tendencies throughout Europe.*

The question regarding the UK is what is the crossover between tier 2 (ostensibly acting along semi-legitimate lines) and tier 3 (acting covertly against the interests of the population)?

*When I heard of the most recent revelations about MI5 collusion with the IRA & the Shankill bombing I immediately thought of the red brigades and their CIA explosives..

droid
23-02-2016, 02:24 PM
again on the UK

these people can't even control their colleagues. what makes you think they have the wherewithal to control you or i?

im not saying there arent currents of control - or efforts to exercise control but its usually the "deep state's" own fantasy of its own efficacy. they'd like to feel that way certainly.

from my own experience no one has much control of anything. some people's sense of powerlessness is certainly exacerbated by their personal circumstances. i, for instance, as a freelancer feel almost totally powerless. im quite at ease with that though.

im not trying to insult anyone or their intelligence by saying such and such is paranoid behaviour - in fact it does seem a bit rude so sorry - i just hate seeing people torture themselves about things which i dont believe are real.

even the biggest ceos are just riding the wave - and what did terry wogan say (lol) - his success has been down to luck "that's the biggest element"

I appreciate what you're saying, but the evidence is incontrovertible. These forces exist in every state to some extent. They have brought down governments, manipulated media, fomented coups, committed acts of terror. The question you should be asking is 'why should the UK be any different'?

Not that I think this should be a primary focus - there are plenty of transparent methods and structures of power & control which are completely out in the open, some of which have been mentioned upthread.

Mr. Tea
23-02-2016, 04:57 PM
Is the key difference between the second and third layers simply that the third layer is wholly clandestine whereas the second is clandestine only in some of its activities, not its actual existence?

droid
23-02-2016, 05:08 PM
Yeah, I think that's probably fair, methodology may be a factor as well.

You would like to think that those in legitimate positions of power would stop short of murdering their own citizens for political purposes... ...False flag domestic terror allegations have become the calling card of conspiracy nuts everywhere, but again, we know it has happened and has been well documented in Europe & the US. I guess the primary difference is that there is at least the remote possibility in theory of those in tier 2 being held accountable.

Look at David Kelly. Hutton uncovered all kinds of shenanigans in what was essentially a neutered inquiry but I don't think anyone credulous believes the whole story has been told.

Leo
23-02-2016, 05:28 PM
so hopefully those in tier 2 or 3 will be taking trump down soon. unless they're the ones propping him up...

Woebot
23-02-2016, 06:10 PM
I appreciate what you're saying, but the evidence is incontrovertible. These forces exist in every state to some extent. They have brought down governments, manipulated media, fomented coups, committed acts of terror. The question you should be asking is 'why should the UK be any different'?

Not that I think this should be a primary focus - there are plenty of transparent methods and structures of power & control which are completely out in the open, some of which have been mentioned upthread.

again im talking about the uk here

certainly we dont need to agree on this

the point im trying to make (without much success) is that while i accept decisions like this are made in societies and as leo suggests with trumps potential removal is a case in point - i dont believe they are made by cabals, by an "establishment" or a secret order. events and individuals come together in an ad hoc way. on each occasion it might be a totally different set of interests in play.

luka
23-02-2016, 06:19 PM
its not gunna be me and you though is it matthew

vimothy
23-02-2016, 07:50 PM
Collusion is a natural mode of human behaviour. From the school-yard to the boardroom, where people gather in numbers, they conspire to further their interests.

droid
23-02-2016, 10:17 PM
again im talking about the uk here

certainly we dont need to agree on this

the point im trying to make (without much success) is that while i accept decisions like this are made in societies and as leo suggests with trumps potential removal is a case in point - i dont believe they are made by cabals, by an "establishment" or a secret order. events and individuals come together in an ad hoc way. on each occasion it might be a totally different set of interests in play.

Youre arguing against a straw man, which, perhaps I have helped construct. Ignore the clandestine, conspiratorial explanations and look at the obvious.

As Vim points out, collusion is inevitable in almost any system, particularly in hierarchical systems, and human history is almost universally a tale of small numbers of people gaining power & wealth and using it to influence events in their favour.

Capitalist democracies are no different in that they are essentially plutocracies. This is implicit in structures of governance, law & barriers to entry. Sure, it gets messy, and establishment forces don't always get exactly what they want but generally things work as they should. Trends we've seen over the last 40 years in the UK - privatisation, destruction of the labour movement, erosion of welfare, criminalisation of protest, increases in intelligence and security activity, liberalisation of the financial & banking sectors - these all serve particular purposes and benefit particular groups.

There is no need for smokey rooms and cabals. It's structural. Politics is the shadow cast on society by business and those in positions of influence would simply not be there if they had not internalised this principle. The system endures & every 5 years we vote for the party which demonstrates the most effective control of the media.

In other news, water flows downhill, and bears shit in the woods. ;)

sadmanbarty
23-02-2016, 10:46 PM
The way I understand a deep state is when a country's institutions such as the parliament or judiciary only have nominal power, with the real power being in the hands of the military and intelligence services. Egypt and Pakistan are examples of this.

A few thoughts:

1) In these situations the military and intelligence services can act without a mandate from the government. Are there examples of this in the UK? If anything the intelligence agencies are over politicised; being pressured into the dodgy dossier, claims of 70,000 moderate Syrian rebels, etc.

2) Are the populations in countries with deep states unaware of the military and intelligence services power? I imagine people in Egypt and Pakistan understand the role these institutions play in politics; its not a "secret" (to borrow Luka's terminology). The fact the UK population is unaware of a deep state would make us an anomaly in this regard.

3) Isn't it dangerous to use this terminology so offhandedly when talking about the UK? It cheapens the accusations of authoritarianism, which could mean they would be meaningless even if used in the correct context.

droid
23-02-2016, 10:54 PM
That's not my understanding no. You are describing openly authoritarian states in which the Deep State has little or no need to conceal its existence. Its only in ostensible democracies where this is necessary. Italy, I think is the example to look at here.

Im not sure it is 'dangerous' to use the term - imprecise perhaps, but then again thats exactly why I posed it as a question rather than an assertion.

sadmanbarty
23-02-2016, 10:59 PM
That's not my understanding no. You are describing openly authoritarian states in which the Deep State has little or no need to conceal its existence. Its only in ostensible democracies where this is necessary. Italy, I think is the example to look at here.

Im not sure it is 'dangerous' to use the term - imprecise perhaps, but then again thats exactly why I posed it as a question rather than an assertion.

Pakistan and Egypt are both ostensible democracies (the emphasis being on ostensible), but I see your point.

By the way I wasn't trying to criticise you with the dangerous comment, just putting an idea out there.

I'll take a look at your Italy example.

droid
23-02-2016, 11:07 PM
Start here - watch out for the rabbit holes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hJrQisPVk8

Woebot
24-02-2016, 09:28 AM
Youre arguing against a straw man, which, perhaps I have helped construct. Ignore the clandestine, conspiratorial explanations and look at the obvious.

As Vim points out, collusion is inevitable in almost any system, particularly in hierarchical systems, and human history is almost universally a tale of small numbers of people gaining power & wealth and using it to influence events in their favour.

Capitalist democracies are no different in that they are essentially plutocracies. This is implicit in structures of governance, law & barriers to entry. Sure, it gets messy, and establishment forces don't always get exactly what they want but generally things work as they should. Trends we've seen over the last 40 years in the UK - privatisation, destruction of the labour movement, erosion of welfare, criminalisation of protest, increases in intelligence and security activity, liberalisation of the financial & banking sectors - these all serve particular purposes and benefit particular groups.

There is no need for smokey rooms and cabals. It's structural. Politics is the shadow cast on society by business and those in positions of influence would simply not be there if they had not internalised this principle. The system endures & every 5 years we vote for the party which demonstrates the most effective control of the media.

In other news, water flows downhill, and bears shit in the woods. ;)

thanks droid. i think i get it now.

john eden
24-02-2016, 10:52 AM
Collusion is a natural mode of human behaviour. From the school-yard to the boardroom, where people gather in numbers, they conspire to further their interests.


Privately educated elite continues to take top jobs, finds survey
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/feb/24/privately-educated-elite-continues-to-take-top-jobs-finds-survey?CMP=share_btn_tw

vimothy
24-02-2016, 12:00 PM
Students with traditional surnames such as Darcy and Percy have dominated the roll-calls at Oxford and Cambridge Universities since the Norman Conquest, a new study has revealed, sparking concerns over social mobility.

Despite the upheavals of the last 800 years, there have been Darcys, Mandevilles, Percys and Montgomerys at the two elite institutions for 27 generations.

Researchers found the same names which were associated with great wealth and privilege under William the Conqueror are still found at the top echelons of society today.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/universities-and-colleges/10413798/Same-names-have-attended-Oxbridge-since-the-Norman-Conquest.html

droid
24-02-2016, 02:09 PM
https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/620/public/Gini%201961-%2014_3.jpg

https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/sites/default/files/styles/620/public/income%20growth%20at%20the%20top.png

https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/how-has-inequality-changed

droid
24-02-2016, 03:11 PM
http://www.workhouse-england.co.uk/images/workhouse%20banner%20text.jpg
http://www.workhouse-england.co.uk/images/team_workhouse_0844b.jpg

Mr. Tea
24-02-2016, 03:26 PM
http://www.workhouse-england.co.uk/images/workhouse%20banner%20text.jpg
http://www.workhouse-england.co.uk/images/team_workhouse_0844b.jpg


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMN8REGJXaA

john eden
24-02-2016, 05:11 PM
it's a difficult decision innit. right across the political spectrum (tho it seems mainly the right want out)

still turning it over. though many of the leave arguments seem like fantasies of sovereignty. as though we would suddenly be free.

on the other hand one key criteria seems to be security - and certainly the "safe" choice is usually the wrong one. much better to embrace insecurity in the modern world (cf all that is solid melts into air)

It is more interesting than some people give it credit for I think. I'm interested in the liberal noise on twitter which seems to be saying that because Farage and Galloway support Brexit that by definition you are a horrible person if you vote out. Whereas on the other hand the vote for In puts you in the same camp as Cameron and all the banks.

Though I agree that the (far) left hasn't really managed to articulate a sensible Out platform aside from that quote from Benn about "who has given you power and how do I get rid of you..."

The security arguments just seem to cancel each other out. I swear the other day there was a different Tory ever half an hour saying that Brexit or Bremain would bring more terror.

I am now tending towards "we're pretty screwed either way, but Brexit will terrify the right people so let's do that." Also you would think Brexit would mean the end of UKIP?

john eden
24-02-2016, 05:14 PM
OMFG at Workhouse.

droid
24-02-2016, 05:20 PM
What's the big deal? We're heading back to Victorian levels of inequality. May as well embrace it.

You're just annoyed cos you wont have any nippers to send up chimneys and make a few bob for their old man.

john eden
24-02-2016, 05:23 PM
OMFG at Workhouse.

"Trading as Hackney Workhouse in Japan".

Fucking hell.

craner
24-02-2016, 05:30 PM
"Got your splendid package this morning and the clothes are super fab. They feel like my clothes and i really appreciate your care and talent. The trousers fit perfectly, likewise the coat with it's superb alteration."

{ Nick Hannan } - Tour, Artist and Sound Management
- Futur Primitif -

craner
24-02-2016, 05:31 PM
"Workhouse clothing is immersive in a sense that as your wearing it whether a coat or jacket, you feel the passion of the garment surround you. It's wonderful to have something with emotional weight and humbling to see the tracer of the maker."

{ Henry Hussey } - Artist London

john eden
24-02-2016, 05:35 PM
Workhouses have always had emotional impact, I will give them that. Some friends in Bristol just got a plaque put up to remember the people that lived and died in the workhouse there...

luka
24-02-2016, 06:02 PM
Hi John I was just wondering if you've got any good arguments for leaving cos I haven't come across any yet. I want to hear the out argument

vimothy
24-02-2016, 08:26 PM
What's the argument in favour of staying?

luka
24-02-2016, 08:35 PM
Depends who you are and what you want

luka
24-02-2016, 08:37 PM
Trade.

luka
24-02-2016, 08:37 PM
Restraining influence on wreckers of civilization

vimothy
24-02-2016, 09:00 PM
So the argument is a neoliberal one, something about the benefits of free trade and free capital?

luka
24-02-2016, 09:01 PM
Pragmatic not ideological.

luka
24-02-2016, 09:04 PM
We shafted the commonwealth already when we joined up. They've found other markets in the interim they don't want us back. We're not going to stop buying and selling things any time soon so ignoring trade would be irresponsible

luka
24-02-2016, 09:11 PM
Anyway this is not answering my question

luka
24-02-2016, 09:14 PM
Like what are we gunna be by ourselves in a world of chinas indias usas russias and eus. I don't get it. If we were new Zealand I would be ok but we're a very conservative country full of cunts that need restraining

luka
24-02-2016, 09:20 PM
I'm sure there are heaps of compelling arguments for getting out I just want to hear them is that too much to ask?

craner
24-02-2016, 09:27 PM
I can't help you, I'm in.

luka
24-02-2016, 09:32 PM
You must have heard a decent argument though. They must have something

vimothy
24-02-2016, 09:32 PM
Personally, I would like Britain to recover its independence.

luka
24-02-2016, 09:36 PM
Just for the abstract concept of sovereignty or to curb immigration?

vimothy
24-02-2016, 09:49 PM
That's a general principle, of course. At the same time, "Europe" (meaning, the EU) is an ongoing disaster, beset by crises that it is incapable of solving. The severity of its short term outlook is only exceeded by that of its long term prognosis. Europe is dying, frankly. So as far as the particulars go, if I were going to give away my freedom and sovereignty, it would not be to a political union of terminal (and accelerating) decline.

vimothy
24-02-2016, 09:51 PM
Well, I don't think that leaving the EU would curb immigration. It's more for the "abstract concept" (though I don't agree that it is abstract; it's actually quite concrete).

Mr. Tea
24-02-2016, 09:54 PM
Hi John I was just wondering if you've got any good arguments for leaving cos I haven't come across any yet. I want to hear the out argument

The UK contributes more to the EU than it receives in subsidies. Or so it's commonly said. Any economics bods care to corroborate/refute this?

luka
24-02-2016, 09:54 PM
I couldn't give a shit about independence cos it has no effect in my life and even accepting your prognosis I can't see how an independent Britain would be exempt from any terminal European decline. Can I have a different argument? You must have some more?

luka
24-02-2016, 09:57 PM
The UK contributes more to the EU than it receives in subsidies. Or so it's commonly said. Any economics bods care to corroborate/refute this?

Wouldn't have a clue but doesn't the economic argument revolve around trade deals/access to markets rather than subsidies?

vimothy
24-02-2016, 10:00 PM
Why must I have more? If you are only motivated by what will directly improve your own material well-being, then you are not going to find my argument appealing, I wouldn't have thought.

Mr. Tea
24-02-2016, 10:04 PM
Wouldn't have a clue but doesn't the economic argument revolve around trade deals/access to markets rather than subsidies?

Yeah, probably. I'm no expert on it, obviously. But if non-membership of the EU would entail prohibitive trade tariffs, then surely the question is: why? They're not a force of nature. Why do countries have to be in a political union in order not to impose barriers to trading with each other?

It's often said (by anti-EU voices, usually) that Switzerland the Norway enjoy most or all of the benefits of EU membership without being members. Is this true? Or is something that can't be applied to the UK, as both countries are far smaller and have highly specialized main industries (oil/gas in Norway's case and banking - moreso even than the UK - in Switzerland's).

vimothy
24-02-2016, 10:05 PM
Having said that, it is extremely difficult to measure with any degree of certainty such an impact. How do you know that Britain's long-run economic health is better in the scenario where we stay in the EU (never mind its net effect on you personally)? Of course, you don't. No one does.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:06 PM
Why must I have more? If you are only motivated by what will directly improve your own material well-being, then you are not going to find my argument appealing, I wouldn't have thought.

Not for your own good. I just want to feel swayed so tje vote feels meaningful and I've engaged in the arguments by talking about it on dissensus.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:07 PM
Having said that, it is extremely difficult to measure with any degree of certainty such an impact. How do you know that Britain's long-run economic health is better in the scenario where we stay in the EU (never mind its net effect on you personally)? Of course, you don't. No one does.

Who can see into the future?

Mr. Tea
24-02-2016, 10:08 PM
There are good environmental reasons for leaving, too. (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2013/may/22/britain-uplands-farming-subsidies)

luka
24-02-2016, 10:08 PM
But I'm not just concerned with my own personal wellbeing incidentally I'm thinking of the general good.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:10 PM
There are good environmental reasons for leaving, too. (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/georgemonbiot/2013/may/22/britain-uplands-farming-subsidies)

Yeah all these sort of arguments rest on the assumption that we would do the right thing were it not for Europe but we wouldn't cos we're cunts too

vimothy
24-02-2016, 10:15 PM
Basically, the idea that leaving the EU will ruin the UK economically is a bit silly (as silly as the idea that leaving the UK will ruin Scotland). So you should find another way to rationalise your vote.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:16 PM
Of course it won't ruin it but it will inconvenience it, that much my crystal ball can see

luka
24-02-2016, 10:17 PM
You have much more faith in your crystal ball than me you're basically Spengler

luka
24-02-2016, 10:18 PM
The other way I rationalise it, as mentioned above, is that this is a country full of red faced tory cunts who need a restraining influence. Quilted Barbour cunts

Mr. Tea
24-02-2016, 10:26 PM
Yeah all these sort of arguments rest on the assumption that we would do the right thing were it not for Europe but we wouldn't cos we're cunts too

This government is not known for throwing huge sums of cash around willy-nilly, except at very deserving causes like obscenely over-exposed banks and hedge funds. Farmers may be traditional Tory voters but I suspect there are too few of them to worry about in terms of lost votes if this cash were to disappear.

I agree there are probably environmental protection laws that we have the EU to thank for but whatever there is doesn't seem to be having much impact on, say, fracking or plans for a third runway at Heathrow.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:29 PM
No they won't but leaving EU doesn't have any effect on that stuff either so seems a bit academic.

vimothy
24-02-2016, 10:29 PM
I think a lot of people rationalise it in the same way, if they're honest.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:32 PM
It's the reason independence and sovereignty don't stir my blood

vimothy
24-02-2016, 10:38 PM
Modest, too.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:56 PM
And I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

luka
24-02-2016, 10:57 PM
Maybe I'll read the sun/telegraph

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 09:43 AM
And I still haven't found what I'm looking for.

Never thought I'd see luka quoting U2, I have to say. Although I guess all bets are off after that Sting & The Police thread.

droid
25-02-2016, 09:50 AM
Personally, I would like Britain to recover its independence.

And they say nationalism is dead.

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 10:30 AM
There's a persuasive argument that the neoliberal/antidemocratic tendencies within the EU are reason not to pull out, but to stay in and attempt to reform it.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/feb/23/labour-jeremy-corbyn-pro-eu-referendum-brexit

Which would certainly be brave, dunno how effective it would be with Merkel at the helm in Germany. Hollande might be up for it but he's on shaky ground in terms of popularity in his own country. Although I suppose debates about the EU in both countries are probably being dominated by immigration/refugees at the moment.

droid
25-02-2016, 10:33 AM
And of course the idea that the UK could be take on anti-neo-liberal democracy expanding reforming role is patently absurd.

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 10:37 AM
And of course the idea that the UK could be take on anti-neo-liberal democracy expanding reforming role is patently absurd.

Even with...

*drum roll*

...Jeremy Corbyn in charge?

luka
25-02-2016, 10:53 AM
And of course the idea that the UK could be take on anti-neo-liberal democracy expanding reforming role is patently absurd.

This, obviously

luka
25-02-2016, 10:58 AM
EU is more brake than accelerator

droid
25-02-2016, 11:06 AM
Even with...

*drum roll*

...Jeremy Corbyn in charge?

lol... I... guess so?

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 11:11 AM
lol... I... guess so?

Hey, I'm talking hypothetically here. Very hypothetically. Of course I am aware that the election of a left-wing Labour PM, were it to happen, is not going to magically undo 40 years of Thatcherism any more than the election of a brown-skinned POTUS vanquished racism in the USA.

vimothy
25-02-2016, 11:29 AM
It's the neoliberal and antidemocratic tendencies that are the reasons for the EU's attractiveness to the British political mainstream.

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 11:52 AM
Right, but what I'm asking is what could be achieved if someone from outside the neoliberal mainstream were to gain power in several of the EU's major economies. ('Outside' meaning 'to the left of', btw.)

droid
25-02-2016, 11:53 AM
Clearly there is some genuine fear there - look at Portugal & Greece.

luka
25-02-2016, 12:09 PM
It would be fun wouldn't it

vimothy
25-02-2016, 12:47 PM
So what could be achieved?

luka
25-02-2016, 01:06 PM
Stem the tide for a bit. Delay. Moderate.

luka
25-02-2016, 01:07 PM
Go too far and you're gough whitlam

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 01:20 PM
So what could be achieved?

Massive investment in green energy and a ban on expansion of fossil fuel extraction? A major programme to renationalize railways, postal services and the like? Safeguarding of public health provision from predatory private health providers that, at present, benefit from laws that unfairly favour them over state providers? A properly funded and integrated system to accommodate refugees so that a handful of countries aren't unfairly burdened?

vimothy
25-02-2016, 01:29 PM
Only the last suggestion addresses Europe.

vimothy
25-02-2016, 01:43 PM
Suppose Corbyn took power in the UK. What would he bring to the table that would enable a solution to be reached where none is possible now?

droid
25-02-2016, 01:53 PM
Varafakis has pretty much spelled it out already in the polemical but ocassionally insightful diem25 manifesto https://diem25.org/

But off the top of my head:

Dismantling and/or reform of the ECB, EU commission, Eurogroup. Draconian Lobbyist charter. Constitutional assembly. Debt repudiation. Rollback on liberalisation in financial sector.

john eden
25-02-2016, 02:00 PM
Hi John I was just wondering if you've got any good arguments for leaving cos I haven't come across any yet. I want to hear the out argument

I'm really not the best person to speak to about this, I am just stumbling around trying to find my way like everyone else.

I will say that I utterly do not care about:

1. Sovereignty (Down with Sovereigns, up with Soviets!)
2. The queens head being on coins or whether we have the euro
3. Preserving the british way of life / british values

The main things for me are:

1. The EU is a neoliberal project. Admittedly so is the vast majority of the UK ruling class. (So in many ways this is an argument between factions of capital about how they should run our lives.)

2. Unlike some sections of the UK ruling class there is no way for UK citizens to change what the EU does or to reform it. Indeed - the EU will protect its own values and interests even if an entire country votes against it, as in Greece.

3. The EU is all about free movement of workers, but only within the EU. Perhaps it has to be like that but it there are some shameful examples of letting migrants die, for example by refusing to support the Marie Nostrum project:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mare_Nostrum

It should go without saying that this essentially equates to the murderous exclusion of black people.

4. The EU is huge bureaucracy. As a bureaucrat myself I know that this means a lot of making things more complicated than they have to be, working to perpetuate yourself instead of the greater good and general wasteman behaviour.

5. Despite all the panic it would seem that membership of NATO and being subject to the European Court of Human Rights are totally different to membership of the EU.


Most of the arguments for remaining seem to revolve around:

1. Not liking UKIP or little Englanders / oh the French are so sophisticated not like the oiks I see outside Wetherspoons.
2. "Project Fear" type stuff as we saw with the Scottish referendum
3. And mainly "It's good for trade/ business". I don't think that is proven. I also don't see any evidence whatsoever that what is good for the banks and bosses is good for me.

luka
25-02-2016, 02:17 PM
Thanks John I knew you'd be the only one with something sensible to say

john eden
25-02-2016, 02:24 PM
It would be fun wouldn't it

Also, increasingly, this. It would almost be worth it alone just to see the look on those cunts' faces.

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 02:38 PM
Only the last suggestion addresses Europe.

Laws could be made to address all the others. And EU-level laws already impact on those things, don't they? I think the Royal Mail sell-off was made possible or at least easier because of EU laws regarding the liberalization of state-owned mail services.

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 02:52 PM
3. And mainly "It's good for trade/ business". I don't think that is proven. I also don't see any evidence whatsoever that what is good for the banks and bosses is good for me.

It's good for employers, this much is obvious. It also totally debunks the dogmatic claims you sometimes hear made that the free movement of people doesn't lead to wage deflation. Of course it bloody does, especially for people who don't earn much in the first place.

But in our hypothetical reformed social-democratic EU, wouldn't it be possible to introduce some Union-wide minimum wage system, perhaps pegged to the cost of living in each member state? That would fix or at least ameliorate the wage deflation problem.

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 04:10 PM
Regarding vim's attachment to sovereignty and independence, and luka's disdain for same:

Isn't it better, at some very basic level, to be ruled by a bunch of self-serving pricks you can (at least in principle) get rid of, than by a bunch of self-serving pricks you can't do anything about at all?

I absolutely reject the lazy "all governments are as bad as each other" pose of the professionally jaded. For all of New Labour's faults, the Blair/Brown regime was measurably less bad than the current lot by almost any criterion. And governments in the past have done things that were actively good and not just 'less shit', such as, you know, introduce universal suffrage, set up the NHS, abolish the death penalty...

luka
25-02-2016, 04:19 PM
im not opposed to genuine independence i just dont think thats what you get when you leave the EU. im not sure im more personally powerful and free in an independent britain. i just dont buy it.



I absolutely reject the lazy "all governments are as bad as each other" pose of the professionally jaded.

no one said this

vimothy
25-02-2016, 04:21 PM
Power is always vested in some sort of authority. It's just a question of who.

John said something interesting in his earlier comment:

"I will say that I utterly do not care about ... Sovereignty"

It's hard to take this seriously. At least, it would be hard to take his other arguments seriously if this were true. (Suppose no one has the authority to implement your ideas. Then they are completely redundant and there is no point proposing them.)

He then complains that,

"there is no way for UK citizens to change what the EU does or to reform it. Indeed - the EU will protect its own values and interests even if an entire country votes against it, as in Greece."

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 04:22 PM
no one said this

Sure, no-one posting in this thread has said this - and I didn't mean to imply they had. But I've heard it from other people plenty of times.

And it's it sort of implied in taking the position that "the UK out of the EU would have no more independence"? Let's forget the independence of the UK as a monolithic entity and think about the agency of the people of the UK to choose their leaders and the sorts of laws that apply in their country. It seems unarguable that a UK that is not beholden to a supranational polity is a UK in which people have more say about how their country is run.

You are right that the EU as it stands helps temper some of the more reactionary tendencies of the current government (although they're managing to shove plenty of reactionary legislation down our throats nonetheless, clearly). But at the same time, a lot of things the EU and its organs such as the ECB do is obviously not to the benefit of most ordinary Europeans (ask the Greeks - or the Germans, for that matter). So in the end I'm back to a sort of Euro-agnostic stance, I suppose.

john eden
25-02-2016, 04:28 PM
Power is always vested in some sort of authority. It's just a question of who.

John said something interesting in his earlier comment:

"I will say that I utterly do not care about ... Sovereignty"

It's hard to take this seriously. At least, it would be hard to take his other arguments seriously if this were true. (Suppose no one has the authority to implement your ideas. Then they are completely redundant and there is no point proposing them.)

He then complains that,

"there is no way for UK citizens to change what the EU does or to reform it. Indeed - the EU will protect its own values and interests even if an entire country votes against it, as in Greece."

I was making a joke about the Queen. :-)

I still think "democracy" is a better way of looking at it than "independence / sovereignty" though.

Democracy and more of it is a much better aim than choosing to be ruled over by local rich people. (Though better to be ruled over by local rich people you can get rid of than distant rich people you can't...)

luka
25-02-2016, 04:28 PM
"I will say that I utterly do not care about ... Sovereignty"

It's hard to take this seriously. At least, it would be hard to take his other arguments seriously if this were true. (Suppose no one has the authority to implement your ideas. Then they are completely redundant and there is no point proposing them.)

i think he means the word, as a fetish object.

edit:hes here can talk for himself

john eden
25-02-2016, 04:30 PM
So more democracy, in principle, also means a demand to abolish the house of lords and the monarchy while we are at it.

And for people to have much more of say than a tick in a box every five years.

john eden
25-02-2016, 04:30 PM
i think he means the word, as a fetish object.

edit:hes here can talk for himself

No that's good too ;)

vimothy
25-02-2016, 04:51 PM
Sure. The point (a reply to Mr Tea) stands, though. Hostility to sovereignty and self-determination *in principle* borders on the incoherent.

vimothy
25-02-2016, 05:05 PM
Democracy is good, but by itself it's not enough, and is also frequently a fetish object. ("The word [democracy] has come to serve simply as a description of the therapeutic state. When we speak of democracy today, we refer, more often than not, to the democratization of `self-esteem'."). It requires a wealth of supporting institutions to function in a way that is healthy and furthers the common good.

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 05:09 PM
So more democracy, in principle, also means a demand to abolish the house of lords and the monarchy while we are at it.


I think reforming the Lords so as to make all of its members elected would be better than abolishing it completely - I can't really back this up with a hard and fast argument but a bicameral system strikes me as better than just a single chamber. Change the name to something a bit less feudal if you like, though.

I used to be ambivalent about the monarchy, purely on the basis that an awful lot of people clearly like them very much, but these days I tend more to think that it's really pretty infantile to cling to the idea that one family is better than everyone else just because they had a distant ancestor who was the tribe's best fighter.

john eden
25-02-2016, 05:11 PM
Democracy is good, but by itself it's not enough, and is also frequently a fetish object. ("The word [democracy] has come to serve simply as a description of the therapeutic state. When we speak of democracy today, we refer, more often than not, to the democratization of `self-esteem'."). It requires a wealth of supporting institutions to function in a way that is healthy and furthers the common good.

Well it will have to do until we get to communism. ;)

Also while I'm here it does look like most of the terrible things that Woebot predicted in his weirdly defensive OP haven't actually happened.

luka
25-02-2016, 05:14 PM
("The word [democracy] has come to serve simply as a description of the therapeutic state. When we speak of democracy today, we refer, more often than not, to the democratization of `self-esteem'."). .

im not sure i know what this means?

sufi
25-02-2016, 07:09 PM
all the above is nice and well and good, but it's all high level theory, principles, ideology, which as everyone on here seems to agree has virtually no actual definite impact on our lives, whichever way things go.
That itself is a worry for me, since we're being asked to vote on this "big question" about which we have minimal understanding or clear vision of either of the alternative futures. Of course, there are masses of big mouth politicians and other figures keen to ride this wave of emotion and prejudice, and encouraging us all into disunity, which itself is a poor outcome of this "democracy" exercise.

However, I can see some concrete impact in an area i happen to know a bit about, which is employment law. The tories stripped out as many of the entitlements that protected employees as they could, early in their first term, and were prevented from demolishing them further by the underlying Euro-legislation. Getting out of Yurp is a necessary step for the next phase of this project.

I think this also applies to the HRA, and also obviously to lot of immigration legislation,
& I guess one could also extrapolate to other areas - housing, commerce and finance, protest & political activism, boring but useful stuff like health and safety...god knows what else.

That for me is enough to form an opinion, i don't fancy the idea of voting though, one shouldnt encourage these vampires.

I must congratulate you all, this thread feels like a bright spot of lucidity in a massive cloud of fart noises.

vimothy
25-02-2016, 08:19 PM
Here is more of the quote, Luka:


The word [democracy] has come to serve simply as a description of the therapeutic state. When we speak of democracy today, we refer, more often than not, to the democratization of "self-esteem". The current catchwords--diversity, compassion, empowerment, entitlement--express the wistful hope that deep divisions in American society can be bridged by goodwill and sanitized speech. We are called on to recognise that all minorities are entitled to respect not by virtue of their achievements but by virtue of their sufferings in the past. Compassionate attention, we are told, will somehow raise their opinion of themselves; banning racial epithets and other forms of hateful speech will do wonders for their morale. In our preoccupation with words, we have lost sight of the tough realities that cannot be softened imply by flattering people's self-image. What does it profit the residents of the South Bronx to enforce speech codes at elite universities?

Christopher Lasch, Revolt of the Elites, New York, 1996

Mr. Tea
25-02-2016, 08:26 PM
Here is more of the quote, Luka:


Riiight. I'm sure there's something in that but how is it relevant to the concrete question of laws in the UK being made by a sort-of elected domestic elite vs. by an unelected pan-European elite?

vimothy
25-02-2016, 08:27 PM
It isn't relevant.

vimothy
25-02-2016, 08:33 PM
I quoted part of it originally as an illustration of the "fetishization" of democracy (vis-a-vis the fetishization of sovereignty).

droid
25-02-2016, 08:37 PM
Varoufakis is right. Better to reform than destroy. Political union could, at least, delay some of the worst effects of the coming crises.

Also, Britain outside the EU would, I think be a worse place to live in. On a pragmatic level, neo-liberalism will probably accelerate without Europe, and there is some slim chance EU reform could slow it down. If stability is your thing, then the risk of political crisis cannot be ignored. Its conceivable that this will not only lead to the breakup of the UK, but also the EU.

vimothy
25-02-2016, 08:44 PM
I'm not sure about the rest of it, but this seems compelling:


If stability is your thing, then the risk of political crisis cannot be ignored. Its conceivable that this will not only lead to the breakup of the UK, but also the EU.

Woebot
26-02-2016, 09:02 AM
However, I can see some concrete impact in an area i happen to know a bit about, which is employment law.

heard a bunch of scientists talking on radio 4 last night. strong consensus seems to be that UK leaving the EU would badly damage their community and the ability to secure funding for research. they see themselves as people of no nation which was refreshingly nerdy.

and then this morning the editor of the economist going through the comparison with denmark in detail and that's clearly not an attractive position to be in. uk probably needs to be more pro-european - we ought to be seeding brussels with bright young kids.

Woebot
26-02-2016, 09:04 AM
4. The EU is huge bureaucracy. As a bureaucrat myself I know that this means a lot of making things more complicated than they have to be, working to perpetuate yourself instead of the greater good and general wasteman behaviour.

:p

Mr. Tea
26-02-2016, 09:30 AM
heard a bunch of scientists talking on radio 4 last night. strong consensus seems to be that UK leaving the EU would badly damage their community and the ability to secure funding for research. they see themselves as people of no nation which was refreshingly nerdy.


I think it's a given that the fewer barriers to communication, travel and collaborative funding exist, the better, for any kind of scientific enterprise but especially the colossal research projects that characterize much of modern experimental physics and biology/medicine. I was young kid at the time of course but I understand there was an unprecedented cross-fertilization of scientific ideas when the USSR disintegrated. For all its political and cultural oppression, China is being smart in allowing (as I understand it) a relative degree of freedom for its scientists and technologists to interact with labs and universities in the outside world.

john eden
26-02-2016, 12:36 PM
I think that the EU's commitment to freedom of movement (i.e. low wages) will trump any EU legislation protecting workers rights personally. Perhaps there is an argument that it was progressive at one point but I think when the chips are down it is quite clear what the priority is.

They were only to happy to talk to Cameron about jettisoning some of the good stuff as part of his negotiations iirc.

And we are back to democracy on this one. Even if the EU is able to introduce Things That We Like in some instances - is that OK?

Is it OK that this country has voted for a Tory government whose wishes have been overridden by the EU? Maybe it is, though that is clearly a problem waiting to happen in the long run.

What if we elect someone amazing and their wishes are overridden? What if the EU starts eroding workers rights as part of its commitment to neo-liberalism?

I know it's shit having to fight these battles about housing and the minimum wage and the bedroom tax etc and we might not win them in the current climate. But at least they are winnable if enough outrage is generated and enough people sign up - because we can actually remove David Cameron.

In the freaky technocratic world of the EU, there is even less chance of influencing these things. Just ask Greece.

And the question for the "oh but we should stay and reform it" crew has to be: "why hasn't this happened already?"

droid
26-02-2016, 12:48 PM
Not disagreeing particularly, but in answer to your last point, its is only in the last 10 years that the EU has really mutated/been revealed to be a monstrous undemocratic technocratic nightmare.

john eden
26-02-2016, 12:54 PM
Not disagreeing particularly, but in answer to your last point, its is only in the last 10 years that the EU has really mutated/been revealed to be a monstrous undemocratic technocratic nightmare.

Now call me pessimistic but what would you say the chances were of reforming a monstrous undemocratic technocratic nightmare? :D

Because this is beginning to sound a lot like the "carrot" side of "project fear" during the run up to the Scottish referendum. "Oh yes we've been terrible, but we've changed. Yes if you stay with us this terrible stuff will never happen again, promise".

Except nobody is even saying that - they're just saying better the devil you know and perhaps a magic pony will appear with a wand that can be waved at the EU that might somehow reform it, a bit, maybe if we're lucky?

droid
26-02-2016, 01:12 PM
lol. All Im saying is that there had been little opportunity for reform as up until recently we didn't know how bad it was, that's not to say it cant be reformed. How is another question.

john eden
26-02-2016, 01:15 PM
lol. All Im saying is that there had been little opportunity for reform as up until recently we didn't know how bad it was, that's not to say it cant be reformed. How is another question.

I accept that, but I hope you can see that this is hardly a compelling argument to stay?

droid
26-02-2016, 01:48 PM
Youre getting unusually het up about this. I think the occasion needs be commemorated in verse.

droid
26-02-2016, 01:50 PM
*ahem*

Ol' long John is gettin' shirty
About EU bureaucracy
Don't want no European triage
So now he's marching with Farage

sadmanbarty
26-02-2016, 02:18 PM
I think that the EU's commitment to freedom of movement (i.e. low wages)

EU migration only depresses low income worker's wages very marginally. Plus, if we were to reduce immigration from the EU, we'd need to increase tax to compensate for revenue lost by not having immigrants paying into the system. This would mean that post-tax income for low-income workers would be less than it is now.

vimothy
26-02-2016, 02:53 PM
EU migrants are generally net contributors to the public purse, for reasons that are easy to understand. Having said that, I don't think it's as obvious that their effect on low income wages (or indeed, wages across the entire distribution) is "marginal".

Mr. Tea
26-02-2016, 02:57 PM
I know it's shit having to fight these battles about housing and the minimum wage and the bedroom tax etc and we might not win them in the current climate. But at least they are winnable if enough outrage is generated and enough people sign up - because we can actually remove David Cameron.


So basically what I said a few pages ago: surely it's better to be ruled by some cunts you can get rid of than some cunts that you're lumbered with forever?

Although you also raise an excellent point: suppose in some future semi-utopia the UK has a government that is more in favour of workers' rights, civil liberties, the environment etc. and gets overruled by an increasingly corporatist EU?

Mr. Tea
26-02-2016, 03:04 PM
*ahem*

Ol' long John is gettin' shirty
About EU bureaucracy
Don't want no European triage
So now he's marching with Farage

He's lining up to put the boot in
With Marine, Boris - on, and Putin!
Can't wait for Brussels's shackles to fall away
And that's why he agrees with Galloway!

Mr. Tea
26-02-2016, 03:08 PM
EU migrants are generally net contributors to the public purse, for reasons that are easy to understand. Having said that, I don't think it's as obvious that their effect on low income wages (or indeed, wages across the entire distribution) is "marginal".

The free movement of labour clearly depresses wages. Otherwise we wouldn't have > 600,000 people settling here every year, the great majority of them to work and the majority of those doing semi-skilled and unskilled jobs, while 1.8 million are registered unemployed (and many more are under- or marginally employed).

john eden
26-02-2016, 03:12 PM
Youre getting unusually het up about this. I think the occasion needs be commemorated in verse.

I'm really not :p

sadmanbarty
26-02-2016, 03:23 PM
EU migrants are generally net contributors to the public purse, for reasons that are easy to understand. Having said that, I don't think it's as obvious that their effect on low income wages (or indeed, wages across the entire distribution) is "marginal".

I didn't say it was obvious, but studies consistently show it to be the case (not to mention the increase in wages for higher income workers due to immigration). Immigrants will mainly depress wages of other immigrants.

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/fear%20unemployment%20fulltext.pdf

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/upload/governmentresponse.pdf

http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/labour-market-effects-immigration

john eden
26-02-2016, 03:31 PM
Immigrants will mainly depress wages of other immigrants.



Oh well that's fine then.

WTF.

sadmanbarty
26-02-2016, 03:39 PM
The free movement of labour clearly depresses wages. Otherwise we wouldn't have > 600,000 people settling here every year, the great majority of them to work and the majority of those doing semi-skilled and unskilled jobs, while 1.8 million are registered unemployed (and many more are under- or marginally employed).

Statistically significant displacement only happens during downturns and only of low-skilled workers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287287/occ109.pdf

http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/pa014.pdf

Mr. Tea
26-02-2016, 04:04 PM
Statistically significant displacement only happens during downturns and only of low-skilled workers.

Of which there are not a few, right?

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask why people are coming here from all over the world to drive buses, sell sandwiches and serve pints of beer while millions of people already living here are out of work. There is obviously something about foreign-born workers that makes them more attractive to employers than native workers.

sadmanbarty
26-02-2016, 04:55 PM
Of which there are not a few, right?

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask why people are coming here from all over the world to drive buses, sell sandwiches and serve pints of beer while millions of people already living here are out of work. There is obviously something about foreign-born workers that makes them more attractive to employers than native workers.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps

Mr. Tea
26-02-2016, 06:07 PM
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps

Perhaps I'm being dense here but I'm afraid I don't entirely follow you.

vimothy
26-02-2016, 07:41 PM
I didn't say it was obvious, but studies consistently show it to be the case (not to mention the increase in wages for higher income workers due to immigration). Immigrants will mainly depress wages of other immigrants.

I'd take such studies with a pinch of salt, personally.

I read the first paper. (It was interesting, but it took a while -- 38 pages -- to get to what I assume is the relevant section. Perhaps you could quote anything else you want to draw on directly?)

Here is part of the discussion of the macro impact of immigration:


In thinking about the supply potential of an economy, most people would probably agree that extra (immigrant) workers in an economy would raise the supply potential of the economy. But the extent to which aggregate supply increases will depend on the economic characteristics of immigrants relative to native workers... [A] Home Office Study on the use of migrant labour... concluded as follows.

Employers cited advantages of migrant workers in terms of their general attitude and work ethic. They tended to be more motivated, reliable and committed than domestic workers... In the view of some employers, the more favourable work ethic of migrant workers encouraged domestic workers to work harder (Dench et al., 2006).

In Saleheen and Shadforth (2006) it was argued that immigration of higher skilled (or more productive) workers could temporarily raise the domestic rate of productivity growth; and that immigrant labour could lower the natural rate of unemployment, either by filling skill gaps (assuming that foreign-born workers are complementary to the domestic workforce) or by tempering wage demands, as wage bargainers become aware that they can be replaced more easily than in the past.

In other words, immigration reduces upwards pressure on wages *in general*, since it weakens the relative bargaining position of labour. As Borjas puts it in a nicely ironic turn of phrase, "immigration greases the wheels of the labour market".

They go on:


In thinking about aggregate demand, most people would agree that immigrants are extra consumers and that they raise aggregate consumption demand. It is likely that immigrants spend a lower fraction of their income when compared to domestic workers, perhaps because they send remittances back home or spend less on durable goods while temporarily resident in the UK - this would, on its own, suggest that immigrants raise demand by less than they raise supply...

On balance we would suggest that at present it appears that the recent inflow of workers from the A10 has acted to reduce the natural rate of unemployment in the UK. But it also seems that it is likely to have raised potential supply by more than it has raised demand, and thereby has acted to reduce inflationary pressures. This argument holds for three reasons. First, the consumption behaviour of native workers may have been affected by the increased fear of unemployment resulting from a more flexible labour market. Second, the recycling of remitted funds back to the UK is unlikely to be perfect. Third, firms may be able to substitute between capital and labour, offsetting some of the potential for investment spending to rise.

Woebot
28-02-2016, 07:59 AM
apparently lynton crosby had advised this:

“Lynton was advising Dave and George to rip up the deal in Brussels and kick it all into 2017,” a senior Tory source said. “His advice was to go to the summit, shout that it’s rubbish, then spend another year renegotiating.”

Now THAT would have been smart.

vimothy
29-02-2016, 09:24 PM
Wolfgang Munchau in the FT: "Europe enters an age of disintegration":


The EU is at risk of four fractures. I do not expect all of them to happen but I would be surprised if none did. The first is a north-south break-up over refugees. The so-called Schengen system of passport-free travel... could be suspended indefinitely...

A second north-south faultline is the euro. Nothing has changed here. Echoes of the eurozone crisis linger on and the Greek position is as unsustainable today as it was last summer.

The third is an east-west divide. Will the open societies of western Europe want to be tied into an ever-closer union with the likes of Mr Orban or the other nationalists in central or eastern Europe?

Finally, there is Brexit.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f9c8bb52-dcac-11e5-8541-00fb33bdf038.html#axzz41aV1x9LO

luka
01-03-2016, 11:05 AM
Sounds interesting but it's behind a paywall

Mr. Tea
01-03-2016, 11:23 AM
Sounds interesting but it's behind a paywall

The article, or EC politics generally?

vimothy
01-03-2016, 11:50 AM
If you go straight to the article from Google, you will beat the paywall every time.

Mr. Tea
02-03-2016, 12:01 PM
NS piece on CAP hand-outs to ultra-wealthy UK landowners:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/09/revealed-how-we-pay-our-richest-landowners-millions-subsidies

Anyone got any ideas what would happen to funds like this if the UK were to leave the EU? Would our govt just pony up the cash instead?

Woebot
15-03-2016, 08:22 PM
scary shit:

"An ORB poll for The Daily Telegraph found that without taking people’s likelihood to vote into account, the campaigns are virtually tied, with remain on 47 per cent and leave on 48 per cent. When the likelihood to vote is considered, however, the leave campaign is on 52 per cent, with remain on 44 per cent."

i know that this is a telegraph poll but my inclination was that remain argument was doing better. seems i was quite wrong. would be hugely alarming to be dragged into isolation and financial chaos.

john eden
16-03-2016, 01:39 PM
scary shit:

"An ORB poll for The Daily Telegraph found that without taking people’s likelihood to vote into account, the campaigns are virtually tied, with remain on 47 per cent and leave on 48 per cent. When the likelihood to vote is considered, however, the leave campaign is on 52 per cent, with remain on 44 per cent."

i know that this is a telegraph poll but my inclination was that remain argument was doing better. seems i was quite wrong. would be hugely alarming to be dragged into isolation and financial chaos.

The remain vote (and likelihood to vote) will increase as we approach polling day though. There's still a load of project fear stuff to come I reckon.

Your UKIPs lot have covered the "common sense" angle pretty well (on their terms, which are horrid, of course). But this will be chipped away with some factoids about how leaving the EU will hurt YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

Slothrop
16-03-2016, 01:58 PM
Generally for "in" here. Not least for the selfish reason that I work in an industry (tech) which is largely dependent on EU workers to keep going.

About the most compelling argument that I've heard for "out" is from my partner, who (full disclosure) is a European specialist in the Civil Service. It basically goes:
* post Brexit, the UK government is still going to want free trade agreements with the EU
* those are going to come with a lot of strings attached, probably including free movement of people and the UK having to implement a lot of EU directives anyway, the difference being that we'll no longer be a major force in deciding what those directives are
* the main impact of UK influence on the EU is dragging it to the right and away from regulation (guess who was the only EU Council vote against the Working Times Directive, for instance...)
* hence by leaving we're actually increasing the likelihood of the EU forcing nasty inconvenient lefty / tree-hugging legislation on us.

Woebot
16-03-2016, 03:56 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pZwMF5a0Bg

john eden
17-03-2016, 07:32 PM
I will see you and raise you

http://youtu.be/hDSsUVPmHz8

Woebot
18-03-2016, 11:58 AM
I will see you and raise you

http://youtu.be/hDSsUVPmHz8

nice to see bat - what a lovely man. interesting that he, like you, is voting out. it really is a very divisive issue.

droid
23-03-2016, 10:03 AM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC_Yhggk62o

vimothy
29-03-2016, 02:40 PM
There's a nice summary of the EU ideal versus present reality in Ian Buruma's recent article (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/04/07/brussels-capital-of-europe/) in the New York Review of Books:


When I arrived in Brussels in the fall of 2015, the sense of crisis was palpable. And this was before armored vehicles appeared in the streets in a rather futile show of strength after the killings in Paris. Not long ago, EU officials and their boosters in the media tended to speak triumphantly of “Europe” as a beacon of peace, freedom, and democracy, a model for the rest of world. The rhetoric was now distinctly downbeat.

I attended a dinner party in an elegant apartment on the Boulevard Winston Churchill. My fellow guests were all connected to the EU in one capacity or another. One spoke openly about the possibility of the euro crashing. Another mentioned the increasingly bad image of the European Commission, as an undemocratic, semi-authoritarian body. Parts of it should probably be dismantled, he suggested. At an EU conference held in one of those magnificent palaces left behind by the Belgian Empire, the Dutch vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, warned that if Europe didn’t solve the refugee crisis soon, the EU could easily fall apart.

At a lavish banquet following yet another EU conference in the same gilded palace, I listened to a speech by Étienne Davignon. If anyone personifies the grand European “project,” it is Davignon. This aristocratic Belgian businessman, banker, diplomat, former commissioner, and now president of a think tank called Friends of Europe operates precisely where Belgian and EU elites overlap: on the summit of big money and lofty ideals. Davignon is, in a sense, the unofficial king of Brussels. In the past, he could be counted on to hold forth about the glories of a united Europe. Now he struck a more defensive note; he was sick and tired, he said, of European despondency: “We have lost pride in what we have done.”

It sounded to me as though Brussels triumphalism was turning into a lament. In a way, this was refreshing. Many observers have described the dangers faced by Europe, not least George Soros in these pages. One of the most cogent thinkers about the EU is Luuk van Middelaar, a historian educated in Holland and France, and now based in Brussels. His articles frequently appear in France, as well as his native Holland. As a former member of the cabinet of the Belgian Herman Van Rompuy, the first president of the European Council, van Middelaar knows the EU from the inside out. He sees the problem of Europe mainly as a political crisis.

In the beginning, the conception of European unity, first as the Coal and Steel Community of six nations, and then as the European Economic Community, was deliberately apolitical, or in van Middelaar’s words, a “dedramatisation of European politics.” The distant goal of technocratic founding fathers, such as Robert Schuman and Jean Monnet, might have been a United States of Europe, but peaceful relations between the European nations, which had just emerged from a catastrophic war, needed to be secured first by pooling such economic resources as coal and steel. European institutions were constructed to transcend national politics. Peace and prosperity would come from economic cooperation and negotiation. Consensus would be reached by responsible leaders out of public sight.

The founding fathers were, however, more than dry technocrats. There was a moral, even quasi-religious dimension to the postwar European ideal, a whiff of the Holy Roman Empire; most of the leading figures in the unification of Europe—Konrad Adenauer, Schuman, Alcide De Gaspari, Paul-Henri Spaak—were Roman Catholics.

The French intellectual Julien Benda was not. But he still had a vision. “Europe,” he wrote in a fascinating essay on European unification, published in 1933, “won’t be the result of a simple economic, or political transformation. It will not really exist without adopting a system of moral and aesthetic values, the exaltation of a certain way of thinking and feeling….” But Benda also believed that the idea of Europe should remain utterly rational, abstract, devoid of any national or tribal sentiments. And French, in his view the most rational language, should be the common means of pan-European communication. It is this rationalist, abstract, deliberately deracinated quality, exemplified by the main EU buildings in Brussels, that would prove to be an obstacle once it became necessary to claim the loyalty of the citizens in twenty-eight different nation-states.

The flaws in the founding fathers’ construction, as van Middelaar sees it, became evident once Britain joined in 1973, and even more so after the end of the cold war in the early 1990s. Problems related to climate change, security, immigration, and a common currency demand political solutions. Bureaucratic tinkering, financial planning, and institution-building are no longer enough. To play a part commensurate with its economic power, Europe needs common policies that are democratically legitimate.

Leo
23-04-2016, 03:15 PM
does anyone care about obamas speech? saw one guardian column that made it seem like a big deal in crushing some key leave arguments.

Woebot
23-04-2016, 07:59 PM
does anyone care about obamas speech? saw one guardian column that made it seem like a big deal in crushing some key leave arguments.

the first remarks about america having the right to intervene given the american lives lost in WW2 was crass in the extreme. putin could make the same argument.

his advisors must be watching the news though and gauging the reaction because the more recent tv speech was much more effective. he made a big play of america not being isolationist - of being involved in NATO and G7 - which scotches boris's latest argument that the US would never be part of a body like the EU.

in all he has only just about done more good for the remain cause than damage.

it's still all horribly close to call. i hope we stay in most days if only because if we leave the next 3-4 years could be extremely rough out - and i'm trying to bring up children right now (life couldn't be more difficult or expensive)

droid
23-04-2016, 09:38 PM
Boris' argument that Obama has a grudge against the UK due to his grandfathers torture in Kenya, (other than being demented) is an intriguing moral reversal and bizarre official acknowledgment of Britain's appalling conduct during the Mau Mau rebellion.

Leo
24-04-2016, 12:09 AM
this is the article i referred to earlier...a fair assessment? http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/22/barack-obama-crush-brexit-fantasy-eu-referendum

trza
24-04-2016, 12:58 AM
I don't follow uk politics, am I supposed to develop an emotional bond with one side or another and treat them like a family member or favorite sports team and defend them to the death?

droid
24-04-2016, 01:14 AM
I think the default attitude is disdain, contempt, resignation and muted support of your favoured candidates/party in the vague hope they wont live down to expectations. Probably no different from most of the US, only there is a higher % of badge wearing idiots there to give a false impression.

sadmanbarty
12-05-2016, 01:10 PM
https://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/economists-say-no-to-brexit.html

john eden
16-05-2016, 05:57 PM
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/16/brexit-eu-referendum-boris-johnson-greece-tory

Quite good from Paul Mason.

sufi
16-05-2016, 06:10 PM
so are you changing our line, eden?

john eden
16-05-2016, 09:44 PM
so are you changing our line, eden?

Because of Mason? Nope.

Still mildly for brexit here. Be good if the arms dealers fuck off AND house prices fall, what's not to like?

I can see what he's saying but it's now or never really.

Woebot
17-05-2016, 07:05 AM
thanks john i read that

and yes STOP BORIS. boris is an attention-seeking infant. this i know from many personal anecdotes AND from my own experience encountering him.

osbourne is capable of making unpopular decisions - and as the left forgets - that surely cuts both ways. can you imagine boris saying no to any global interest?

droid
17-05-2016, 09:47 AM
AND from my own experience encountering him.


Dont leave us hanging Matt!

sufi
17-05-2016, 01:44 PM
I can see what he's saying but it's now or never really.& it's not like the politicians on the remain side are exactly savoury either.

It's vaguely entertaining to see Corbyn and Cameron stuck on the in side when they probably both are outies.

(btw sorry i mistyped above - i meant to say "your line")

Mr. Tea
17-05-2016, 07:29 PM
& it's not like the politicians on the remain side are exactly savoury either.


This is why I think it's misguided for so many Remainers to concentrate their propaganda on endless iterations of "You mustn't vote Out because then you'll be like Farage, Johnson and Galloway, err, yuk, smelly", when by the same argument, voting In puts you in the same camp as Cameron, Osborne and the mainstream of the Tory party, which in itself is not really a ringing endorsement from the POV of any non-Tory.

Woebot
17-05-2016, 09:10 PM
Dont leave us hanging Matt!

over that cup of tea you promised me. his brother is solid though.

john eden
19-05-2016, 11:56 AM
& it's not like the politicians on the remain side are exactly savoury either.

It's vaguely entertaining to see Corbyn and Cameron stuck on the in side when they probably both are outies.

(btw sorry i mistyped above - i meant to say "your line")

Well Corbyn certainly has made anti-EU statements in the past, not so sure about Cameron - he has certainly positioned himself as part of the modern, candy crush on yer ipad, hug a hoodie, gay marriage supporting wing of the party.

Woebot
20-05-2016, 02:26 PM
good leave argument for lefties:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/20/brexit-best-answer-to-dying-eurozone-eu-undemocratic-elite

craner
23-05-2016, 11:25 PM
It will be mad to go out, and Project Fear is not irrational. And why should it be?

I think this vote will be close but far less close than the general election or the Scottish referendum.

As people are realising, there's not good option based on the Nordic or Switzerland model that will satisfy the outs: single market, immigration, isolationism.

Sovereignty is an abstract argument; economics is finished; legal arguments heavily contested, but the more progressive legislation has come from Europe.

Personally, I am more more for Euro-federalism the more dangerous and insane the world becomes. It also weakens and challenges the Monarchical principle and nationalist ideals.

Fiscal union has been the main wrecker.

craner
23-05-2016, 11:33 PM
The most trenchant and persuasive anti-EU book I've read is Brooker and North's 'The Great Deception'. Read it. But I still think, for many reasons, it's obvious we should be in.

sadmanbarty
23-05-2016, 11:35 PM
Here’s an article basically suggesting that economists have been so consistently wrong in the past that their views on Brexit should be taken with a pinch of salt. (I’ve posted links earlier in the thread, showing that economists largely are in the remain camp).

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/18/economists-have-a-century-of-failure-behind-them-no-wonder-they/

Here’s Simon Wren Lewis’s response.

https://mainlymacro.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/economists-are-losers-so-ignore-them-on.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed:+MainlyMacro+(mainly+macro)

craner
23-05-2016, 11:47 PM
I have no idea about economics, but the basic argument seems persuasive to me.

Mr. Tea
24-05-2016, 08:19 AM
I can't wait for the whole thing to be over just so I don't have to keep hearing and reading this imbecilic non-word "Brexit". I almost don't care which way the vote goes as long as everyone stops saying and writing "Brexit, Brexit, Brexit" all fucking day long.

craner
24-05-2016, 08:59 AM
This word will never end, I fear.

vimothy
24-05-2016, 12:09 PM
A telling statement from Simon Wren-Lewis:


This is the real beef that Mr. Heath has against economists: we mostly follow the evidence and not an ideology.

vimothy
24-05-2016, 09:02 PM
To (briefly) expand on that, it's not that Allistair Heath and those like him know more about economics than the economics profession, but that the economics profession (in general) falsely conceives of itself as a collection of objective, ideology-free scientists, whereas partisan hacks like Heath, whatever their other flaws, are under no such illusions.

Lichen
24-05-2016, 09:35 PM
Weetabrexit

Mr. Tea
24-05-2016, 10:17 PM
Weetabrexit

http://www.b3ta.com/talk/7938110

craner
24-05-2016, 10:18 PM
Exitsploitation

sadmanbarty
25-05-2016, 04:30 PM
WTO gives its verdict on Britain leaving Europe.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/745d0ea2-222d-11e6-9d4d-c11776a5124d.html#axzz49e4dBlN6

sadmanbarty
25-05-2016, 05:27 PM
Leave campaigners claim IFS study warning of Brexit impact is 'propaganda'

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/leave-campaigners-claim-ifs-study-warning-of-brexit-impact-is-eu-propaganda-a7047601.html

trza
25-05-2016, 05:30 PM
I know I don't have a say or anything but I never eat breakfast and only eat breakfast food if its at a restaurant that serves the stuff all day.

john eden
25-05-2016, 09:37 PM
Vote Brexit for a house prices crash.

Mr. Tea
26-05-2016, 09:20 AM
Christ! :-/

http://www.b3ta.com/board/11199458

droid
26-05-2016, 09:52 AM
Reminds me of this:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tS_Xq7gSCBM

sadmanbarty
26-05-2016, 04:38 PM
http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21699504-most-scientists-want-stay-eu-european-experiment

sadmanbarty
27-05-2016, 04:47 PM
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/3/f7f1ae1e-228a-11e6-aa98-db1e01fabc0c.html#axzz49s2qIbcL

It links to these, which I haven't actually read

https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/publications/research/2016-05-09-britain-eu-sovereignty-myth-niblett-final.pdf

http://ner.sagepub.com/content/236/1/7.full.pdf

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/datablog/2015/oct/19/simon-hix-is-the-uk-marginalised-in-the-eu

sadmanbarty
28-05-2016, 11:27 PM
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/may/28/economists-reject-brexit-boost-cameron

Woebot
04-06-2016, 08:42 AM
SATURDAY INTERVIEW

‘Boris and this Gove fellow? They’ve never been in business in their life’
Lord Sugar, the new enterprise tsar, is in typically withering form over the Brexit team’s vision for Britain

‘With the greatest respect . . . ” and you know that Lord Sugar is about to deal a hammer blow to some unsuspecting soul. “With greatest respect,” he says, “and maybe I’m a bit thick, but who is this Gove bloke? Perhaps you could enlighten me on who he was or what he did.”

Or: “I have a lot of respect for Boris, though we all thought he was a bit of a clown when he got the job as mayor . . . but you’ve got to wonder whether his heart is really in Britain or whether his heart is in looking to be the next prime minister. You asked me why I think these high-level people are backing this Brexit thing and I think, with all due respect, they have their own personal agenda.”

The Hackney-born electronics mogul, husband of Ann, father of three, resident of Chigwell in Essex, worth an estimated £1.1 billion, has surprisingly just been appointed as a government enterprise tsar. Or rather, re-appointed. He knows the role; he’s been one before, under Labour. But he quit the party after it lost the election last year, citing its all-round unenterprising attitude. There is something a bit desperate, though, about the Conservatives rehiring him, as if the root of our manufacturing woes can be traced to the lack of successful businessmen with reality TV franchises jobbing as government advisers. It seems doubly desperate when you look at how bitchy relations between David Cameron and Lord Sugar have been.

In 2009 Mr Cameron said: “I can’t bear Alan Sugar,” and added that he equally loathed The Apprentice. “I’m glad he can’t bear me,” the peer replied, “Perhaps he will stop asking people to sound me out if I want to meet him and defect to his party.”

He had already written off the future prime minister as a two-faced lightweight. Now it is Labour he has written off. “The party should never allow itself to be associated with Ken Livingstone. He’s become obsessed with talking about Hitler. I think his bedside reading is Mein Kampf.”

In any case, Lord Sugar’s aims for Britain are clear, and shot through with the disbelief evident on The Apprentice. “We’ve got to deal with apprenticeships for young people and find them jobs. We’ve got to create a culture about their work ethic and we’ve got to manufacture some more stuff — desperately.” All easy enough if he were in charge in place of “the bloody wimpy goody-goodies”.

Will the wimps take any notice? Ministers have a habit of ignoring their tsars, from Mary Portas to Sir James Dyson, soon after posing for the political money-shot. Like previous holders of the title, Lord Sugar has the common touch, being far more popular than any politician.

We’ve got to create a culture about their work ethic and we’ve got to manufacture some more stuff — desperately
So there must be something in it for him. Given the timing and his passion about staying in Europe, it seems likely that he is going to use the platform to do everything he can to stop Britain leaving. Mr Cameron, for example, is retweeting anything his enterprise tsar says on the subject.

“This is literally the most serious vote you’ll ever make,” Lord Sugar says (Cameron has retweeted that pearl). “This is not a general election where you vote every five years.” Voting to leave Europe, would be, he says, “like watching your children walk off to a stranger’s house”.

He is concerned that the immigration debate has been muddied by the Brexiteers to confuse voters and compares their “scare tactics” to Donald Trump’s. “Trump says things like, ‘I’m going to curb immigration,’ ‘I’m going to build walls,’ and in a similar vein, when you make broad statements in our country like the exit people are doing, it does touch a nerve with the public and confuses them.”

He’s worried that the electorate is especially muddled about the number of refugees from outside Europe. “When the exit people say we need to cut immigration, the public think they’re talking about Syrian refugees. But that’s nothing to do with the EU.”

Brexiteers claim that leaving means being able to secure better deals with countries such as China and India. “Really? I don’t know what’s stopping us doing that now,” he replies.

“I’ve lived here 69 years. And I’m frightened. There could be half the population that believe in this nonsense.”

It is better, he insists, to have a seat at the table; that leaving Europe would mean being slapped with the enormous tariffs he’s old enough to remember when he was selling to the French before Britain joined. His is an economic argument: “We have 500 million consumers out there that we can freely trade with and they’re our business customer.”

Not that he expects Boris and co to grasp this truth. “In fairness,” he says, priming himself for another take-down, “people like Boris and this Gove fellow have never been in business in their life. Never actually done any import or export. That’s what makes me laugh. They just fire out statistics in mid air. It’s total nonsense. And my message to the public is, go ask them. Please ask Boris. Please ask this Mr Gove. ‘I want you to explain to me in language my taxi driver can understand what you’re talking about.’ And of course they shy off that.”

If Mr Cameron had hoped that the enterprise role would get Lord Sugar “on board” in a wider sense, he is wrong. Possibly only the peer’s wife escapes his trademark excoriations. The cabinet, this one just like the Labour lot, are “all bloody wimpy”.

“We’re too goody-goody,” he says. “We should find ways and learn from our French cousins on how to dodge the rules.”

The crisis at Scunthorpe steelworks appalled him. “I fly around the country and I see these windmills out at sea, all over the place. They are made of steel. Yeah? And yet the contract for them was awarded to foreign companies. And that’s what doesn’t make sense. They can make a steel windmill frame up North with their eyes closed.”

You can’t be so frightened of breaking the rules, right?
The problem is rules. “With the greatest respect to the prime minister I don’t think he was tough enough in the last round [of EU negotiations] . . . our French cousins have an amazing way of interpreting the rules, that turns out always to benefit their own people. In England we stick to the rules and we end up awarding these things to foreign companies. It’s not just this government, it’s the previous one. They’re bloody wimpy. Break the rules!”

Rule-breaking goes like this, for any politician reading: “You can’t be so frightened of breaking the rules, right? So they should wake up on a Monday morning and get involved in all the major contracts — a load of them have been handed down by the government, by the way — and say, ‘We want to prioritise a British manufacturer, for employment in this country. And you get some jobsworth in Biz who says, ‘Ooh, we can’t really do that because under section 5 paragraph blah di blah . . .’ Sod that. We’re gonna do it. ‘Well we can’t do that because we’re going to get nicked.’ Yeah, well, let’s get on with it, and we’ll face the consequences.”

The British work ethic is another cause for concern. “I popped in to Harrods for a coffee. Not one of the waiters or waitresses was what I call a traditional English person. They were Europeans, and one has to ask, why? Well, with the greatest respect to some of our traditional English youngsters, they see that type of work as beneath them. Let’s say you go to one of these economy hotels, — £50 a night — go and look at who’s cleaning the loos. Again, it is European people. Traditional English people don’t want those jobs.”

Three years ago he wrote an angry article about migrants on benefits. Now, he says, he is satisfied that the problem is under control. Among foreigners, at least. “You’ve got certain people — what I would call traditional English people — who think to themselves, ‘What should I do that for? I can collect £250 a week from the social security.’ You think that’s going to change if we leave the EU? No!”

Claims of foreigners stealing British jobs annoy him. “I’d like to throw it back to the exit people and say, ‘Which particular jobs are you referring to?’ No one wants to clean the loos, not for 250 quid. So who are they going to replace all the Romanians and the Polish people with? It’s certainly not skilled and technical jobs they’re stealing. We need immigrants. And, by the way let’s not forget they pay tax, also.”

To the Brexiteers who say they want to make Britain great again, he says: “That sounds good to me. Well, tell me what you want to do? Do you want to be the biggest car manufacturer again? Do you want to be at the forefront in medicine again?” He brings the imaginary dialogue to a crescendo. “Tell. Me. What. You’re. Talking. About.”

But why should we listen to Sugar? “Dare I ask you to accept,” he says, “that I am passionate about the country and want it to prosper still?”

Mr. Tea
04-06-2016, 12:03 PM
Hard to argue with a lot of that.

Woebot
05-06-2016, 09:28 AM
Vote Brexit for a house prices crash.

"Claims that house prices would be hit have encouraged some first-time buyers but Osborne said any gains would be more than offset by rising mortgage costs, which would add between £810 and £1,280 to the costs for the average first-time buyer. “You don’t help people onto the housing ladder by crashing the economy.”

sadmanbarty
05-06-2016, 07:51 PM
A rather telling quote from the FT; indicative of the big problem with the leave campaign:

Michael Gove has refused to name any economists who back Britain’s exit from the European Union, saying that “people in this country have had enough of experts”.